Steamboat Springs With a snort and a tail wag, the graying, 9-year-old, recently shaved black lab lifts her teddy bear, "Baby," into her mouth. She prances around the Bud Werner Memorial Library lawn as though she'd never had a single ache or pain in what used to be her constantly limping frame.
"It's not just that she isn't limping," her owner, Lauren Stara, said. "It's like she's a puppy again. All that pain was just sapping her energy."
Stara, perhaps better known as the human companion to Steamboat's library and teddy-bear dog, Jasmine, is the latest recipient of the Steamboat community's generosity and canine compassion.
Close to $1,800 was raised at a giant yard sale at the library last week, all of which is going toward medical and travel expenses for a surgery Jasmine needed badly.
Stara had tried several types of non-invasive therapy for Jasmine's sclerosis a disease that resulted in constant pain and inflammation of the biceps tendon channel, which attaches muscle to the shoulder bone. But nothing worked. It was Stara's co-worker at the library, Christie Hermann, who conceived and organized a sale to raise the funds to cover the surgery.
Before the sale, Hermann told Stara they'd have to let the public know how any surplus funds would be spent.
"I laughed at her," Stara said. "I was hoping we'd raise $500."
Surgery costs, excluding travel expenses to and from Denver, totaled $1,600.
Donations started coming in even before the sale. Several yard-sale shoppers told Stara to "keep the change," even when they bought a $5 item and handed over a $20 bill.
"We got an anonymous donation of $100, and one special little boy gave us 20 cents from his allowance," Stara said. "We even got a few checks from out-of-towners."
At the end of the day, $1,786.64 had been collected. Everything sold at the yard sale was donated by library employees and their friends.
During the sale, the Homesteader and Steamboat Coffee Roasters donated coffee, while locals Alysa Selby, Rachel Ferrick, Susan Waldron, Dianne Stoyko and Liz Swift baked treats including dog biscuits to raise additional funds and keep the salespeople going. Local businesses Sew What and Art Quest donated merchandise to the sale. Maribeth Cate, Jim Kurowski, Fred Fuller and Greg Hermann also donated time and energy to set up and tear down the sale.
Locals Pam and Doug Dickey donated storage space for all of the donated goods.
"This community is amazing," Stara said. "I still can't believe the total. I know that Jasmine is a minor celebrity in town, but I had no idea how well she is loved."
The generosity didn't stop in Steamboat.
Stara brought Jasmine and Baby to Alameda East Veterinary Hospital the celebrities from the "Emergency Vets" television show on Aug. 28. The Denver veterinarians were so impressed with the strength and concern of the Steamboat community they told Stara that when Jasmine inevitably needs similar surgery on her other shoulder, they will do the procedure "as a courtesy."
"I am impressed," Stara said. "Jasmine is snorting through her teddy bear that she is, too. And, because of all of you, in a few weeks you will once again see us walking down Lincoln Avenue to work every day."
To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4204 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org